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Thompson, Okanagan charities collecting donations with increased demand

FILE PHOTO - Central Okanagan Community Food Bank Christmas hamper drive
Image Credit: Contributed

As we get closer to the Christmas season, some Thompson and Okanagan charities are asking for a little help.

The Kelowna Salvation Army’s demand for Christmas hampers this season is already beating last year’s numbers, said Major Mark Wagner, with The Salvation Army.

Last year, they had 354 hamper registrations but already have 420 this month and registration hasn’t ended yet.

The Salvation Army also started its Christmas Kettle campaign Nov. 18 with roughly 800 volunteers across the Central Okanagan but they have 1,970 shifts they need to fill, Wagner said.

With rising interest rates and inflation, Wagner said he isn’t surprised to see an increased need this Christmas season.

READ MORE: Kelowna Christmas parade preparing for annual trip around city

“I’m disappointed by it because I don’t think food banks should be a growth industry,” he said.

Registration is open to apply for a Christmas hamper until Nov. 30. Donations can also be made online and those looking to volunteer can also sign up online.

Other charities are also offering their services and asking for donations for those in need:

BGC Okanagan

BGC Okanagan is currently offering an adopt a family program this Christmas that matches youth and families with businesses, organizations, schools and more. Donations can be accepted online, or contact Richelle Leckey, the community engagement coordinator, at for more information. To sign up to give a hamper, registration deadlines are Nov. 21.

Build a Furry Friend Toy Lodge

Special visits with Santa Claus will be held next month Dec. 2, 7 and 16 for children with autism offering lower lighting and quieter surroundings. Proceeds from photos taken at the visits support the Beacon’s Furry Foundation Society. Santa will also be visiting Dec. 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18. More information can be found online.

Seniors' Light Tour

Each year, the City of Kamloops offers a free light tour to seniors. After the tour, there is a tea service and sing-a-long at the Sandman Centre. This year's tour is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 8, from 6 to 10 p.m.
To register, call 250-828-3500 or register online. The registration deadline is Thursday, Dec. 1.

Cram the Cruiser

North Okanagan cops are fundraising for the Armstrong Food Bank next week. On Nov. 25, between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m., local RCMP officers will be at the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce Light Up collecting donations in support of the Armstrong Food Bank.

“The demand on local food banks has never been higher and they are under so much pressure right now,” said Const. Ashley Allen of the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP, in a news release. “We wanted to do something to help stock their shelves and ease that demand so they can continue to support those in need.”

Community members are invited to bring a new, unwrapped toy, non-perishable food item, cash, or grocery store gift cards to support the cause.

Cassidy's Charity Drive 2022

Starting Dec. 1, the Kamloops McNutt family is lighting up their house at 5215 Dallas Drive and have chosen to support the Kamloops Hospice Association.

"The community is welcome to come by their home to enjoy the lights and visit Santa when he is not in his workshop and able to be outside," according to the hospice association.

Cassie McNutt is a Grade 11 student and together with her family, they work hard to help charities in our community bring smiles and cheer to families in need. Hospice has been close to home for them as her grandfather, uncle and dad’s best friend all spent their last days there.

August Motor Car Toy Drive

August Motor Cars in Kelowna is hosting a toy drive Dec. 4 from 3 to 4 p.m. “Walk through a Supercar Winter Wonderland, bring your child’s wish list, donate new unwrapped toys, and help us raise toys for special families this Christmas,” according to the luxury car shop.

Santa photos are free of charge but August is asking those who have their photos taken to bring a new unwrapped toy as a donation.

Toys donated this year will be going to Ronald McDonald House BC & Yukon and Mamas for Mamas.

Have a charity event you'll be attending or donating towards this Christmas season? Comment below and let us know.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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